Thursday, May 14, 2015

OU Softball: Sooners Capture Top Big 12 Awards


The 2015 Oklahoma softball team became the first in Big 12 Conference history to capture each of the four major end-of-season awards, taking home Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year honors, the league announced Wednesday.

Senior Shelby Pendley was named Big 12 Player of the Year for the second time in her career, joining former Sooner Amber Flores as the only players to win the award more than once. Flores did it in 2009 and 2010, while Pendley was also honored in 2013.

In 16 conference games, Pendley led the league with a .522 batting average and posted league highs in runs (26), home runs (9), total bases (54), on-base percentage (.641) and slugging percentage (1.174). It’s the 10th time an OU player has won Big 12 Player of the Year, done by eight individuals.

Parker is the fourth player ever to win Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and Big 12 Freshman of the Year in the same season, joining the illustrious names of Texas’ Cat Osterman (2002) and Blaire Luna (2010) and Baylor’s Whitney Canion (2009). Parker is the third Sooner to win Pitcher of the Year, joining Lauren Eckermann in 2007 and Keilani Ricketts in 2013. Parker shared the Freshman of the Year honor this year with Kansas’ Daniella Chavez.

A native of Independence, Mo., Parker was dominant in league play. In 14 appearances in the circle, she posted a league-leading 1.45 earned run average as she struck out 84 in 77.0 innings on her way to an 11-2 record. In conference games, Parker led the league in wins and was second in strikeouts and opponents’ batting average (.167).

Head coach Patty Gasso earned the eighth Big 12 Coach of the Year honor of her career as she guided the Sooners to an unprecedented fourth straight conference crown with a 14-2 record. She has won the award in each of the last four seasons. No other coach in the history of the league has won the honor more than three times.

Parker and Pendley were each named to the All-Big 12 first team, along with senior Lauren Chamberlain and junior Erin Miller. Making the second team were senior Georgia Casey and juniors Whitney Ellis and Kady Self. OU led the Big 12 with seven total all-conference honorees, including a league-high four on the first team.

In addition to being Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, Parker was named to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team along with Nicole Pendley and Kelsey Arnold. The three selections for OU were the most of any team on the All-Freshman squad.

Ellis and Arnold also represented Oklahoma on the All-Big 12 Defensive Team. Due to Ellis’ prowess behind the plate, Big 12 teams went 0-2 in stolen base attempts against the Sooners this season. In 16 starts at third base, Arnold did not make an error in 43 total chances.

Oklahoma’s 12 overall conference honorees were the most of any Big 12 school.

The No. 11 seed in the 2015 NCAA Division I Softball Championship, Oklahoma hosts the Norman Regional this weekend as Central Arkansas, Texas A&M and Lehigh visit Marita Hynes Field.

/// SoonerSports PR

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